I was retrenched – what now?

I was retrenched – what now?

There are few things more disappointing or stressful than being let go. Not only do you have to grapple with all the emotions it comes with, but you’re also left with the anxiety of being without income. While there’s not much you can do about actually getting retrenched, here are some quick tips on how to keep your head above water in the meantime.

1. Budget, budget, budget

Make sure that you know how much money you’ll have for the next few months. If you have a severance package, figure out how you’re going to use that money to tide you over until you find something else. Apply for UIF payments. See if there are things you can cut back on in the meantime. The less pressure on your finances and the more carefully you budget, the more space you can give yourself to find something new.

2. Let key people know

Make sure that you tell your support structure. See if you can negotiate payment holidays or reduced payments until you’re back on your feet. Many institutions just want to know that there is intent to pay and will be willing to negotiate while you navigate your setback. Getting ahead on talking to them will prevent stressful phone calls later.

3. Keep busy

Try to stick to your normal daily routine as far as possible, and don’t spend all your time job searching. Set a time for yourself every day where you look for work and then find something else to do for the rest. It seems counter-intuitive, but if you spend all day every day looking for something else it’s easy to get burnt out and demotivated on your search. Try instead building your skills with an online course or find temporary or freelance work while you look for something more permanent.

4. Figure out what you want going forward.

Take the opportunity to think about what you want from your next role. What were the parts of your previous role you enjoyed? What parts of your previous role didn’t you like? Is there an industry you would really like to work in? Knowing what you want going forward will help you take a more focused approach to your job search and keep you focused on roles where you can thrive.

5. Take care of yourself.

Remember that it’s not your fault. Take some time to process your feelings and take time to do things that help you relax. It’s stressful being without work but forgetting to look after yourself will only cause more problems later.

By trying to alleviate stress as much as you can before looking for something new, you give yourself the best chance of hitting the ground running when you find something new.